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Trade deal with India soon: Donald Trump

“We are doing very well. I think very soon we will have a trade deal. We will have a larger deal later on,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 06.42 AM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session and discussed with him bilateral ties.
New Delhi: India and the US will soon have a trade deal to be followed by a bigger agreement later, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, suggesting that the two nations may be close to resolving current disputes.

“We are doing very well. I think very soon we will have a trade deal. We will have a larger deal later on,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after their bilateral meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal were also present during the meeting.

The announcement of a trade package along with a larger trade deal is something Trump would want to claim credit for with polls just over a year away.

“When President Trump and PM Modi met last, they had a broad understanding that issues on trade must be resolved quickly, and those discussions are ongoing,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Monday night, without divulging details.

On the table are discussions on restoration of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for India, which will allow the country to resume select exports and concessional duties. India had exported $5.6 billion worth of goods last year under this regime.

Price controls on medical devices, duty cuts on Harley Davidson bikes and market access to American agricultural commodities, among others, are US trade issues. Specifically, there is a discussion on India making a commitment to revisit current price controls on medical devices within a certain period of time, if not an immediate release of these caps. The US wants India to do away with price controls on devices with innovative features and keep them separate from mass products. The US also wants India to scrap 20% tariffs on information and communication technology goods.

New Delhi has also been cautious about liberalising the ICT sector as it fears that markets will be flooded with Chinese goods.

For India, there could be a partial reinstatement of preferential market access to American markets under GSP which was revoked on June 5. Representations from the domestic medical device and dairy industries had been partly reasons why USTR initiated a GSP review and subsequently withdrew the benefit.

The trade package could see market access for some Indian agricultural products such as table grapes and pomegranates.

In areas where there is already market access for India, the US is likely to enhance facilitation of processes, like a certification of irradiation for fruit before export.

The two sides have been engaged in talks to iron out the differences which began last year when the US levied global additional tariffs of 25% and 10% on the import of steel and aluminum products, respectively.

India responded by levying retaliatory tariffs on 28 products originating or exported from the US with effect from June 16 for which Washington dragged it to WTO.

The office of the US Trade Representative had linked market access in the two areas of dairy and medical devices to continuation of GSP and also sought datarelated relaxations, including in India’s e-commerce policy. New Delhi may also work on a separate HS Code so as to facilitate further duty reduction or elimination on Harley Davidson bikes.

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